Well, I have heard back from all but one author on edits on the next anthology. The last author is unwell (no, it’s not the current pestilence) but I have a cover to finish and a book to assemble so it’s really not slowing things down. Author contracts will be out in a couple of days and payments will be out before publication – hopefully that will be this week.
I am considering adding a masked monster to the Loch Ness picture I’m using. It’s still possible.
There are several other single author books delayed by this mess and my own writing has stalled. I have to do some catching up. Especially with Panoptica, which is coming true very fast now.
So, masks. We are to be told soon that masks will be compulsory but will they do any good? Can you afford them from the price gougers? Can you even get them?
A surgical mask is not designed to protect the one wearing it. It’s designed to stop the surgeon infecting the patient. Wearing one does not protect you, it protects everyone else from you. Of course, if everyone wears one, that’s okay, but can everyone get one? You can’t re-use it. It’s meant to be sent for autoclaving and disposal after use and not too many people have access to a box full of masks and an autoclave. Although many people still have pressure cookers, so 15 minutes with the full weight on will do the same. The mask will not be useable afterwards though.
Right, so you are likely to be told to wear a mask even though you can’t get one. A scarf isn’t going to do too much to help. The fabric masks with the bottom half of a skull printed on them will have near-zero effect too. And something that seems to have been forgotten – the virus gets in through your eyes. Wear safety glasses, the ones that wrap around the sides.
Home made masks. It’s not as simple as wrapping a scarf around your face, you will need a bit of sewing.
First, you need the layer next to your face. Make it heavy gauge cotton perhaps from an old pair of jeans because you really don’t want the next two layers touching your face,
Next layer, HEPA material from one of those white cloth vacuum cleaner bags. Careful with this stuff, it has fibreglass in it so wear gloves handling it and cut it outside or at least near an open window. It can cause long term irritation. It is, however, very good at filtering.
Next layer, any material soaked in 30% (30 grams per 100ml) salt solution. Ordinary table salt is fine. Add a touch of detergent to help it spread, a drop of washing up liquid will do. Let it dry completely and lay it on the stack.
Finally, outer layer. Anything you like. It’s not really doing anything other than keeping the lower layers in place. Remember you have to breathe through all this stuff so the outer layer can be as open as you want.
When it’s assembled, I’d say don’t put the loops over your ears. Use some kind of elastic to hold the loops behind your head, it takes pressure off your ears so you don’t end up looking like Prince Charles, aka Plug from the Bash Street Kids.
Stitch or staple pleats either side of your nose, to make it fit snugly. Air flow will be much easier around the mask than through it and you want to avoid that. It’s not going to be easy to breathe through this thing so don’t think you’re going to be running a marathon wearing it but walkkng slowly through a supermarket should be fine.
Oh and if you are thinking of taking up smoking because of the effects of nicotine on this virus, it’s too late. The effects of nicotine on ACE2 receptor expression don’t happen overnight. The current French experiment using nicotine patches is most likely going to fail unless the patient is a current or recently-quit smoker or vaper. If it does, that failure will be pounced on by the WHO who seem intent on causing as many deaths as possible for their Chinese masters.
Me? I just stocked up on baccy and whisky and vitamins D and C and zinc sulphate. But what do I know, eh?
Some will say I should have stocked up on tinfoil. We shall see.